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THE    CHINESE    PEOPLE                     1*J

This cultural homogeneity sometimes makes us forget that
racial differences, differences of blood, do exist within the
country. At close range the abstract notion of a Chinaman dis-
appears and breaks up into a picture of a variety of races, different
in their stature, temperament and mental make-up. It is only
when we try to put a southern commander over northern
soldiers that we are abruptly reminded of the existing differences.
For on the one hand we have the northern Chinese, acclima-
tized to simple thinking and hard living, tall and stalwart,
hale, hearty and humorous, onion-eating and fun-loving,
children of nature, who are in every way more Mongolic and
more conservative than the conglomeration of peoples near
Shanghai and who suggest nothing of their loss of racial vigour.
They are the Honan boxers, the Shantung bandits and the
imperial brigands who have furnished China with all the
native imperial dynasties, the raw material from which the
characters of Chinese novels of wars and adventure are drawn.

Down the south-east coast, south of the Yangtse, one meets a
different type, inured to ease and culture and sophistication,
mentally developed but physically retrograde, loving their
poetry and their comforts, sleek undergrown men and slim
neurasthenic women, fed on birds'-nest soup and lotus seeds,
shrewd in business, gifted in belles-lettres, and cowardly in war,
ready to roll on the ground and cry for mamma before the
lifted fist descends, offsprings of the cultured Chinese families
who crossed the Yangtse with their books and paintings during
the end of the Ch'in Dynasty, when China was overrun by
barbaric invaders.

South in Kwangtung, one meets again a different people,
where racial vigour is again in evidence, where people eat like
men and work like men, enterprising, carefree, spendthrift,
pugnacious, adventurous, progressive and quick-tempered,
where beneath the Chinese culture a snake-eating aborigines
tradition persists, revealing a strong admixture of the blood
of the ancient Ttteh inhabitants of southern China, North and
south of Hankow, in the middle of China, the loud-swearing
and intrigue-loving Hupeh people exist, who are compared
by the people of other provinces to "nine-headed birds in
heaven" because they never say die, and who think pepper not